DR. CYRENIUS WAKEFIELD. The late Dr. Wakefield of Bloomington, who departed this life on the 20th of February,
1884, was widely and favorably known throughout the nation. As a gentleman he was honored and respected by all
who ever met him. Possessing as he did fine natural abilities and those qualities which constitute the true man
and valuable citizen, it was not difficult for him to win the esteem and admiration of those about him. The life
history of Dr. Wakefield, necessarily briefly given here, is in its chief points as follows: He was born in Watertown,
N. Y., and was the son of Joseph and Susan (Sawyer) Wakefield, both natives of Vermont. His great-grandfather,
Andrew Wakefield, was born May 5, 1765, was of English descent, and belonged to the old Quaker stock who were extensive
landholders in the Kingdom. When eighteen years of age he emigrated to the United States, settling first in Nelson
County, Ky., whence he removed to Franklin County, Pa. There he was married in 1794, to Miss Margaret Campbell,
the ceremony being performed by Rev. Mr. Cooper. After settling in Nelson County, Ky., he was followed by two brothers,
John and Daniel, who married and settled there, reared families, and it is supposed passed the remainder of their
lives. The children born to them were all daughters and but little is known of their history. Andrew Wakefield
died in Hamilton County, Ohio, June 23, 1828, and his wife, surviving him a period of twenty-seven years, passed
to her final rest in the spring of 1855. Mrs. Margaret Wakefield was born in Franklin County, Pa., Dec. 16, 1772,
and was consequently eighty-three years of age at the time of her decease. The maiden name of Andrew Wakefield's
mother was Margaret McCoy. She was of Scottish ancestry and a lady of great intelligence and personal attraction.
Dr. Cyrenius Wakefield was the fifth of a family of six children, who lived to become men and women. He was reared on a farm until he attained his majority, in the meantime having received a good education and becoming a teacher in 1837. He then removed westward to Bloomington, III., and became teacher of a large school three miles south of the city, where he was engaged for fifteen months. He then purchased a tract of land in De Witt County, lying west of Farmer City, and while engaged in the improvement of the same, pursued his former calling during the winter months for four seasons following marriage. In 1847, in company with his brother, Dr. Zera Wakefield, he purchased a stock of goods and they engaged in trade near Marion, De Witt Co., Ill., our subject taking charge of the store and his brother continuing practice which, extending for miles around, necessitated long drives and the care of horses. In addition to this the latter commenced preparing medicine and leaving it at the store for sale, the demand finally becoming so extensive that what was originally a country store became quite a laboratory for drugs. In June, 1848, after continuous practice of two years, Dr. Zera Wakefield contracted violent congestion of the lungs and died within thirty-six hours after the attack.
After the death of his brother, Dr. Cyrenius Wakefield purchased the interest of the first named in the business, and continued as before. In 1850 he sold his farm and moved to Bloomington, that he might have better facilities to extend his business. He also applied himself diligently to the study of medicine and pharmacy and here gained the title of doctor. During the first few years after his removal to Bloomington he operated extensively in drugs in company with Robert Thompson, who was a brother-in-law of Mrs. Wakefield, having his laboratory in the rear of his drug-store. In 1856 he put up a brick laboratory near his dwelling and two years later retired from the drug trade, giving his whole attention to the compounding of medicine. His business steadily increased, and in 1879 he had local agencies established over all the Western States and had accumulated a large capital.
Dr. Wakefield was a man of firm and decided principles, a member of the Free Congregational Church and a stanch adherent of the Republican party. He was generous, hospitable and charitable, always ready to extend a helping hand to those in need. The four children of his family were Emma, the wife of Mr. A. S. Eddy, Cashier of the People's Bank, and the mother of five children, namely, Gussie, Florence, Adelbert S., Louis and Maxwell. Oscar, the eldest son, married Miss Agnes Benchly and resides on the old homestead; Hattie is the wife of A. B. Brady of Davenport, Iowa; Mr. B. is editor and proprietor of the Northwestern News. The youngest of the family is a son, Homer.
Dr. Wakefield, on the 17th of August, 1843, was united in marriage with Miss Harriett Richardson, at the home of the bride's parents in Watertown, N. Y. Mrs. Wakefield was the daughter of Josiah and Cynthia (Tolman) Richardson, natives respectively of Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Her parents were married in Watertown, N. Y., in about 1815, and settling there engaged in farming pursuits, the father giving much attention to the breeding of fine horses and cattle. The parental household included eight children, all of whom grew to years of maturity and are recorded as follows: Charles and Juliet (Mrs. Dodge) are in Watertown, N. Y.; Mrs. Wakefield was the third child; Cynthia, Mrs. Thompson; Josiah; Mary, now Mrs. Waters, and Martha, Mrs. Jones, are all in Bloomington. Josiah Richardson was a man of strong character and much ability and a stanch member of the old Whig party. He took a deep interest in all matters pertaining to his county, State and nation, and remained a resident of Watertown until his death, loved and respected by all. His children were given a practical education and carefully reared to those principles of honor and honesty which have distinguished most of the members of that family. Both parents belonged to the Universalist Church.
The portrait of Dr. Wakefield is fittingly presented in a work containing the portraits and sketches of so many of the best people of McLean County. With a mind so richly stored as his was and with the genial disposition and temperament which it was his fortune to possess, a successful life, in the full sense of the word, is what we might look for, nor were his friends disappointed.
Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill. : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), 201-2. Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards